A Deep-Dive Into Understanding Keyword Research

by | SEM, SEO

A Deep-Dive Into Understanding Keyword Research

If you’ve performed SEO research before, you understand that keyword research is vital to its success. But do you know what keyword research really is?

A keyword is defined as:

  • A word or concept of great significance. An informative word used to indicate the content of a document.

Keywords are essential to your search ranking. Google searches through individual pages and gives them a keyword rank. Each individual page will be placed in the search results based on the outcome.

  • The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average click-thru rate of 27.6 percent.
  • The #1 organic result is 10 times more likely to receive a click than the #10 spot.

Getting your keywords correct can quite literally make or break your business.

What Is Keyword Research?

What are your top keywords? It may seem like a simple question. After all, you know exactly what you do, the services you perform, or the products you sell. Yet your understanding of your business and your customers’ assumptions can be strikingly different.

Keyword research is the process of finding, analyzing, and using the words or phrases people regularly use as they search for what you do. It’s about getting to know the way your customers think and search to find you. If you perform keyword research the right way, it helps you dig deeper into the psyche of your customers.

Finding this information isn’t rocket science. But there are “good, better, best” practices to ensure you capture all of the keyword research information applicable to your business.

Done right, keyword research is performed regularly as your business grows. When you add new content, look at new niches, or optimize your existing content, doing keyword research first ensures maximum exposure. It ensures you’ll have the greatest chance of ranking well in the search engines.

How Do You Find the Right Keywords?

There are many ways to dig deep and ensure you’re covering your entire niche. This is about taking the extra steps necessary to fully know what your customers are thinking.

Start by focusing on solving your customers’ problems. If they’re searching and comparing new furnaces, for example, what they want is warmth, comfort, and energy efficiency.

There are all kinds of keyword tools online that can help you create a long list of potential keywords. And they can be great for streamlining the process. These tools pull some great words and phrases that you can use to build new content.

But don’t forget there are many in-depth resources that can further analyze your demographics. We often use social media search tools to see what people are talking about on the most popular social media sites. This gives us the chance to see what people are including in their videos or what they’re sharing with their photographs.

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Different Search Terms Throughout the Year

Every business has what we call “seed” keywords. These are the starter keywords, or foundational keywords, at the core of your niche or industry. These are also the most competitive keywords. Everyone in your niche, across all industries worldwide, is using these and trying to gain traction.

The more you dig, however, the more you’ll discover trends based on time of the year, seasons, or even current events. Summer vacations, for instance, can trigger life into keywords like “backyard BBQ” or “family road trip.” Christmas time brings about new interest in anything that can be given as a gift. Even the pandemic caused sporadic growth in keywords never considered before … how about the run on toilet paper?

Pay Attention to Your Competitors

As you start growing your keyword list, you can brainstorm other words and phrases by analyzing your competition. Many tools will help you find what your competitors use in their own SEO strategies and tell you how well they rank. It can clue you into other terms you might not have considered before.

Just be sure you stay away from the biggest companies in your niche. They may rank on a broader scale simply because of their size. They have the dollars to throw at prominent keywords, something you might not have the budget to play with.

But it can help you discover more specialized key terms on which to focus your own research. Most research tools will provide insight on the amount of traffic these keywords receive and give you a better idea of whether they’re worth your time.

Use Google

Most people familiar with SEO understand how to use the Google keyword search tool. But Google offers other opportunities for finding keywords too. 

Google’s autocomplete can provide information on what people search for based on seed keywords. Type in your primary keywords, and see what the Google autocomplete function fills in for you. Not all may be relative to your business, but it can give you ideas for future growth.

Move further down the page of your specific keyword search on Google, and you’ll find the “people also ask” feature. This provides snippets based on questions searchers type into Google. These can inspire long-tail keywords and even provide you with ideas for future content and blog posts.

Now That You Have Your Keywords, What Do You Do With Them?

With your keyword research done, you now have a resource tool to help you build content. Start with the keywords that have the best metrics. Work these into your content calendar to start building out pages to help you with your natural search placement.

Think of your keywords as topics. They can alert you to where content would do you the most good and clue you in on what to write about.

Let’s say your keyword is kayaking. Kayaking would be your seed keyword and would be at the top of your keyword-building strategy. Other long-tail keywords could help you build out your content hub.

With kayaking as a seed keyword, other ideas might include:

  • How to buy a kayak
  • Beginning and advanced kayaking skills
  • The benefits of kayaking on a river
  • What mistakes do people make while kayaking alone
  • The best kayaking trips around the world

These are also broad terms and can be further broken down depending on how deep you choose to go.

If you spend time brainstorming, you’ll quickly discover that coming up with relevant keywords can be a never-ending process. Once you start exploring one area, it almost always leads to another.

Have You Used Keyword Research to Further Expand Your SEO?

Keyword research may be the start of diving deeper into what your customers want and developing a powerful digital marketing strategy that brings in traffic and growth. If you haven’t paid enough attention to your keyword research and SEO strategy, maybe it’s time to ask for help.

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